The crunch-crunch-crunch of four paws in two feet of snow is music to my ears as I watch Baxter, my 6-month old puppy, frolic in his first snow! The Blizzard of 2016 or Snowzilla came January 23 to the Washington, DC metro area to absolutely, positively shut down airports, trains, schools, businesses and government offices. Even Starbucks!
But, dogs still gotta have fun! I want to share how you can take some great photos of your furbabies in the challenging conditions that snow brings—and have fun doing it!
Bring out the White!
The bright snow white is a blanket of gorgeous, simple backdrop with the advantage of natural light. Since your camera “reads” the snow as a “middle grey” tone, for the perfect white exposure you need to compensate by “overexposing” your photo (or turn to the “snow” setting if your camera has a Scenes setting). This is easily done by opening your aperture by 1-2 stops. For example, if your camera reads f8, then try taking a photo at f5.6 or f4 to allow more light turning grey to white. If you are using your camera phone, this is also easily done with a pop up exposure meter on the screen. But don’t overdo it as you want to keep the snow’s texture in your photo. To get more details for iPhones, see this short article http://iphonephotographyschool.com/winter-snow/. Here are some profiles of my Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs) Sammy (on the left) and Eleanor (aka Bunny) with that snowy white background.
Snow flying action!
If your dogs are like mine, snow will be flying everywhere as they break trail and try to run, run, run! You want to freeze the action for clear, sharp shots. I suggest using shutter speeds of 1/500 or preferably 1/1000 or greater to achieve this effect. Here are Baxter (on the left), the puppy, and Teddy, the 2-year old, frolicking in the snow. More on Baxter in future posts and you can watch him growing up on my Instagram site. Follow me @BrightEyesPhotosDC!
Profiles in white!
You can take advantage of the white background and the depth of the snow to get some fabulous single or group profile shots of your dogs. Dogs love treats and a few dangled above or to the side of your camera one-handed or by a helpful “assistant” will surely get your dogs’ attention fast. I prep by giving out a few rounds of treats and then start shooting away. Here are my 4 Shelties in a snow profile.
Changing weather conditions like snow presents a chance for you to see where you live with a different perspective. Once you are dug out, take your dog out to see the sites covered in snow. Here is Baxter on the House of Representatives side of the U.S. Capitol on a mound of snow!
If you’d like to follow up with a session with your dogs or cats, check out my Sessions and Contact me! Or you might know someone who would be interested in a Session. You might like my SEASONS package that includes 4 full photo sessions throughout a 12-month period where I capture your dog or cat at different locations capturing the flavor of the 4 seasons of the year or whatever theme appeals to you. Let’s go for it!